Wizards of the Coast takes a… novel approach to dealing with PDF piracy
And by “novel”, I mean to say “utterly stupid and short-sighted.”
Earlier this evening RPGNow, Paizo, and DriveThruRPG pulled all of their Wizards of the Coast PDF products (where both new and much much much older products were available) at WotC’s request. The ability to purchase them ended at noon – the ability to download products that you’ve already bought ended at midnight.
According to Wizards of the Coast, this was done to prevent piracy. (In a followup statement, they clarified that they believe this… because they are luddite morons.)
“We have [taken these actions] to stop the illegal activities […], and to deter future unauthorized and unlawful file-sharing.”
I love the vast understatement from one gaming site today:
“I predict an increase in piracy of Wizards products.”
Let me take this one step further. I guarantee – not ‘predict’, but guaran-goddamn-tee that every single PDF of WotC products made available after midnight tonight will be a pirated copy.
Just… think about it for a second; you’ll see exactly what I mean.
See… before today? Sure, some people were sharing PDFs like that on file-sharing sites, and there was pirating going on. Sure, yes.
Was it because the PDFs were made available by WotC and sold online?
No. You’ve been able to get PDFs of ANY game book — hell, any book at all — even ones that have never had electronic versions available, ever since scanner technology became remotely mainstream (early 90s), because people have time, and geeks have desire for the electronic versions.
Until today, at least most of the people who wanted electronic versions of their game book were getting the PDFs the easy way: google search, got to RPGNow, click, click, download. No torrent software. No worrying if you picked up a virus with your latest PDF. Easy.
Now, the only way to get the electronic version of a WotC product is to get it from a pirate site.
I can either not get it at all (sucks for me, and WotC gets no money), or I get it from a torrent site (hassle for me, and WotC gets no money).
The pirating people? This has no fucking affect on them what. so. ever.
Well, no; that’s not entirely true.
This move by WotC, ostensibly meant to fight piracy, will actually ensure that more people will come to their site to download ALL the PDFs they want (for games, for novels… whatever — I mean, as long as they’re THERE for the DnD stuff, they might as well look around and see what else is out there, right?…).
It’s not just stupid and short-sighted. It doesn’t just ensure the piracy of their work by 100% of those that want PDFs of DnD material; it actually hurts all the other companies in the industry as well.